Pottsville Residents Complain About Demolition Waste In Alley

When residents complained Tuesday about more than a ton of concrete refuse, which a city contractor dumped at the far end of a Pottsville alley more than a year ago, officials promised action.

“A contractor dumped those there about a year and a half ago. There’s a wall here that borders my yard. And the weight of those, with the snow and the rain, is pushing that wall toward my yard,” Sue Rich, 422 Harrison St., Pottsville, said.

Mark Santai, 426 Harrison St., and Betty Guy, 432 Harrison St., also complained about the load of concrete dropped behind their properties.

“We already talked to that contractor and he said he was going to come out and move that stuff. We’ll contact him again and if he doesn’t get to it in a couple of days, we might have to issue a citation,” Justin D. Trefsger, the city’s code enforcement officer, said Monday.

On Tuesday, City Administrator Thomas A. Palamar identified that contractor as Penn Earthworks, Hazleton.

Read more:

http://republicanherald.com/news/pottsville-residents-complain-about-demolition-waste-in-alley-1.1888747

Upscale Eateries Give Struggling Malls A Lift

After perusing a few boutique stores and getting her hair done at Rizzieri Salon & Spa at Moorestown Mall, Jamie McCulloh-Martin decided to go for dinner at Osteria a few doors down.

“I’ve been here more in the last 1½ years since [Osteria] opened than in all of my 22 years living in Moorestown,” said McCulloh-Martin, 50, owner of a physical therapy chain, who ate outdoors with her administrative director, Kelly Casio. “The mall is really changing, and for the better.”

In the new mall world order, you can taste Jose Garces’ tacos at Moorestown Mall, Bobby Flay’s burgers at Cherry Hill Mall, and filet mignon at Morton’s – the Steakhouse at King of Prussia Mall.

The mall and high-end restaurants have struck up a marriage that’s holding on to shoppers longer and generating a better return for powerhouse owners such as Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Simon Property Group.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150524_Upscale_eateries_give_struggling_malls_a_lift.html#61pW5raHst0VyXYE.99

Columbia Hopes To Land Downsized State Call Center, With 129 Jobs

A year after tabling a plan for a call center here, the state Department of Human Services now says it wants to put a smaller version of the call center somewhere in Lancaster County.

And even though the proposed call center has been shrunk by more than half, Columbia Borough is in hot pursuit of the venture, which would create 129 jobs.

Its Borough Council voted this week to spend $835,000 to support the effort of developer Bill Roberts to put the call center in a fire station at 137 S. Front St.

“Every now and then, when a municipality embarks on an economic development project, they need to be willing to put some skin in game,” said Mayor Leo Lutz.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/columbia/news/columbia-hopes-to-land-downsized-state-call-center-with-jobs/article_cf7669f8-ffdf-11e4-ac60-370a1a706522.html

What States Are You Most Likely To Hit A Deer While Driving Your Car

Where are you most likely to hit a deer while driving along, minding you own business:

#1 – West Virginia

#2 – Pennsylvania.  Your risk level is HIGH, 1/71.  We are the 42nd most expensive state for car insurance.  State Farm, Erie and Allstate are the top three providers.  Frankly, I was surprised it wasn’t number ONE!

To read the article and see the top 20, click here –

http://car-insurance-rates.credio.com/stories/3697/beware-bambi-states-youre-likely-hit-deer?utm_medium=social.paid&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=ao.sp.fb.dt.3697&utm_content=beware-bambi-most-likely-hit&utm_term=credio

Susquehanna-Roseland Power Line, A $1.4 Billion Project, Switched On

The long-anticipated Susquehanna-Roseland power line was fully energized this week for the first time.

The 150-mile-long, 500-kilovolt line links PPL Electric Utilities’s switchyard at its Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Salem Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, to Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.’s switching station in Roseland, Essex County, New Jersey.

It cost $1.4 billion and is designed to bolster electricity reliability for the power grid run by Pennsylvania-based PJM Interconnection that serves 61 million people in all or parts of 13 states plus the District of Columbia.

“It’s all about reliability,” PPL Electric Utilities spokesman Paul Wirth said. “It prevents overloads on other power lines and gives electricity another path to travel, especially during period periods when it’s extremely hot or extremely cold.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/05/susquehanna-roseland_power_lin_4.html

Comcast Hiring 5,500, As Part Of Customer Service Improvement

CHICAGO – Comcast’s unhappy customers finally have gotten through to the nation’s largest cable television company.

Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that it would hire 5,500 additional customer-service workers in the United States and hundreds of new service technicians, as part of a broad plan to improve its poorly rated service operations. The company has been bashed nationwide by cable and Internet subscribers as unresponsive and rude.

CEO Brian Roberts told reporters that the customer backlash had served as a “rallying cry to rethink how we do business.”

The cost to execute its “aggressive” customer service improvements will be on top of $300 million Comcast has invested in recent years in service upgrades, company officials said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150506_Cable_leader_admits_the_downside_of_being_disliked.html#CbSPg5D4sPheVYyd.99

Lancaster, Strasburg Among Top 10 Most Beautiful Towns In Pennsylvania

WP_20150413_15_01_39_ProThe folks at the Culture Trip recently released its guide to the 10 most beautiful towns in Pennsylvania, and two of their choices are located here in Lancaster County.


Related: Central Market among top 10 fresh markets in the world


Lancaster city was lauded for its “unique shops and boutiques, a plethora of outstanding restaurants and a beautiful countryside,” while Strasburg was recognized for its railroad attractions and its countryside, which was described as “rich in history and beauty.”


Related: Lancaster dog park tops list of 10 best amazing dog parks in U.S.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-strasburg-among-top-most-beautiful-towns-in-pennsylvania/article_7642cca4-f00e-11e4-80fe-0fb071204e70.html

Stats Suggest Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Media Market Is Among Nation’s Most Racist

In the anonymous world of the Internet, people in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and surrounding counties use the n-word in Google searches more often than most areas of the United States, according to statistics compiled by a top data scientist.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton media market — which includes Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania along with some counties in New York and New Jersey bordering the region — ranked 16th out of 196 nationwide for frequency of computer users searching the word, the data reveals.

Read the original study

Residents of the media market used the racial slur in online searches more than anywhere else in Pennsylvania except the Johnstown-Altoona media market, according to a study by a data scientist who gathered the information for a 2013 report about how racial animus affected the presidential elections of Barack Obama.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/stats-suggest-wilkes-barre-scranton-media-market-is-among-nation-s-most-racist-1.1872856

All Pennsylvanians To Pay More, GOP Gleans From Report On Wolf’s Tax Plan

HARRISBURG, PA — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax plan would hit all income classes and amount to a “huge tax grab,” said a leading Republican lawmaker.

But John Hanger, Wolf’s policy director, on Friday disputed the Independent Fiscal Office report’s main conclusions. Wolf’s plan “would benefit most Pennsylvania homeowners making up to $100,000 and renters up to $50,000,” Hanger said.

The report released this week makes a key observation when it says all groups would pay more — including a small net increase for the lowest income group, those making $25,000 or less annually, said House Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph, R-Delaware County.

That “directly contradicts” claims by Wolf and testimony of top staffers at appropriations meetings, Adolph said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/8239869-74/tax-wolf-budget#ixzz3YKajHAhL
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Bolaris: Possible Frost By Week’s End

Thunderstorms swept into the area Monday night, bringing with them gusty winds, small hail and always dangerous cloud-to-ground lightening. All showers and leftover storms will slip off the coast Tuesday, allowing for a return to sunshine and pleasantly mild temperatures.

The return of the Big Chill

On Wednesday, a modified polar front will lead to afternoon showers and scattered storms. Temperatures will still be in the 60s, however unseasonably cold air will greet you Thursday as temperatures by day hover in the middle 50s.

Some parts of the Philadelphia region could be hit with frost either Friday or Saturday morning as the thermometer falls back into the winter-like 30s. How widespread will the frost be? It will depend on the amount of cloud cover and a light or near calm wind. Clear and calm conditions are the best case scenario for widespread frost.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Severe_threat_then_possible_frost.html#ukgWoqRM6Cd28mRL.99

Pennsylvania Pension Funds Could Run Dry In As Little As 10 Years

Without higher contributions from workers and taxpayers, Pennsylvania’s public sector pension plans may not be able to pay for their promises.

And if investment returns fail to live up to expectations, the two pension funds could run dry before the end of the next decade.

Those are the startling conclusions drawn by a pair of researchers at the Mercatus Center, an economic think tank based at George Mason University, which examined Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees Retirement System and the State Employees Retirement System.

The center says PSERS has a 31 percent chance of making it to 2030 with sufficient funding to pay for all the retirement benefits promised to current and former workers, while SERS has only a 16 percent chance of making it that long.

Read more:

http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20150419/pennsylvania-pension-funds-could-run-dry-in-as-little-as-10-years

Air Pollution From Natural Gas Production In Pennsylvania Up Significantly In 2013

Air pollution from natural gas sites in Pennsylvania increased significantly in 2013, the state Department of Environmental Protection says.

Emissions from sulfur dioxide, a precursor of acid rain, was up 57 percent from 2012, DEP said. Volatile organic compounds increased 19 percent. Methane gas, a greenhouse gas, was up 13 percent. Particulate matter (also called soot) was up 12 percent and nitrogen oxides, which form soot, increased 8 percent.

The increased emissions were not unexpected as natural gas production and related processing operations were up in the state as compared to 2012, said John Quigley, DEP secretary.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/air-pollution-from-natural-gas-production-in-pennsylvania-up-significantly/article_d368fe3a-e776-11e4-921a-7f24d012610e.html

Gov. Tom Wolf Preaches ‘Gospel Of Manufacturing’ During Lehigh Valley Visit (Video)

Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday that students educated at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute and Lehigh Carbon Community College will power Pennsylvania’s economic engine.

“If we’re going to have a future in manufacturing in Pennsylvania, what you learn here is really, really important,” Wolf told students after touring LCCC and LCTI, which sit on neighboring campuses in North Whitehall Township.

“I’m preaching the gospel of manufacturing,” he said.  “Manufacturing is making a comeback…Part of the reason manufacturing has a great future in Pennsylvania is because we have really good workers.”

Read more/watch video:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/04/gov_tom_wolf_preaches_gospel_o.html

Giant Supermarkets To Boost Minimum Pay To $9 Per Hour

Giant Food Stores will boost its minimum pay to $9 per hour, effective June 7, the company said Tuesday.

The change applies to 197 non-union supermarkets run by Carlisle-based Giant and its Martin’s division.

Data from a website that tracks wages shows the decision will be worth as much as $1.67 per hour extra for the company’s workforce.

“Our associates are the foundation of our success and we have always believed in paying competitive wages to attract the best talent,” said Giant President Tom Lenkevich in a prepared statement.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/giant-supermarkets-to-boost-minimum-pay-to-per-hour/article_9581413c-e360-11e4-8edd-bfd0cd3f9d3d.html

Harrisburg City Council Passes Resolution Calling For Safety Of Oil Trains

Lancaster County officials aren’t the only ones expressing concern over oil trains passing through communities along the Susquehanna River.

Harrisburg City Council Tuesday night passed a resolution that urges Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the designs of rail cars that carry explosive crude oil across the country and through populated areas.

The resolution also urged rail companies to replace their fleet of oil tank cars with improved models. And the measure asked the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to help local emergency responders better prepare for the possibility of an oil-train accident.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/harrisburg-city-council-passes-resolution-calling-for-safety-of-oil/article_9b630868-e376-11e4-b6a8-3f5ea18bf998.html

Research On Vaping Starts To Clear Smoke On Possible Health Effects

Chelsey Bowles said she doesn’t stink anymore.

“Not smelling like an ashtray is nice, definitely,” the Hanover resident said.

Bowles said she no longer coughs in the mornings, her taste buds are back, she can smell again, and walking up stairs is no big deal.

That’s the difference, she said, between smoking cigarettes and vaping.

Read more:

http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_27902921/research-vaping-starts-clear-smoke-possible-health-effects

Thousands Turn Out For Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K In Pottsville

The Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K featured thousands of runners and even a marriage proposal Saturday in Pottsville.

This is the third year for the event that had runners from 33 states and the District of Columbia. The race started at 9 a.m. but before then, people were busy getting ready for the event organized by CK Running LLC, Philadelphia.

Cathleen Klassen, 44, of Hummelstown, a Pottsville native, was getting ready to run again this year, her third year doing so.

“I love coming home. I love having a chance to see people I grew up with,” she said.

Read more:

http://republicanherald.com/news/thousands-turn-out-for-yuengling-light-lager-jogger-5k-in-pottsville-1.1862516

Turkey Hill Customers Question Safety In Wake Of Robberies

When Turkey Hill comes to mind, most people think of flavorful ice cream and sweet iced tea. But in Wilkes-Barre, many mention the recent spike in robberies at the company’s stores before thinking of their signature snacks.

Since January 2014, city police have responded to at least 22 Turkey Hill robberies, 13 of which occurred in the last four months.

Frequent customers have not abandoned these stores, but some have questioned the safety during late-night hours.

Lisa Cummings of Mountain Top often visits the Turkey Hill on North Pennsylvania Avenue after work, but said she would probably not go to the store at 3 a.m.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/turkey-hill-customers-question-safety-in-wake-of-robberies-1.1862265

Accepting Leadership Award, Gov. Wolf Says Hill School Prepared Him

POTTSTOWN, PA – Gov. Tom Wolf may not have learned everything there is to know about “Beowulf” when he was a student at The Hill School, “but I did learn how to ask questions; I did learn how to think and I did learn how to live.”

Those were among the short lessons Wolf had for the students and guests Thursday night when he accepted the school’s 17th Annual Sixth Form Leadership Award.

“I came to Hill in the fifth form, so I was only here a brief time, but it made a big difference in my life. I came away from this place a much better person that I was when I came in,” said Wolf, who attended the school from 1965 to 1967.

During those years, he was on the swimming and soccer teams, was assistant editor at The Dial and played the sousaphone.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150409/accepting-leadership-award-gov-wolf-says-hill-school-prepared-him

Restoring Aging Lancaster County-Owned Bridges Tied To Natural Gas Impact Fee

On sparsely traveled back roads across Lancaster County, more than two dozen narrow, unassuming bridges built in a simpler era are showing their age.

Concrete is weathered and cracking. The decks are no longer safe for even moderate loads.

The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates.

The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/restoring-aging-county-owned-bridges-tied-to-natural-gas-impact/article_8d404a12-3caa-5308-a5f6-14cb6f4abaae.html